tv U.S. Senate CSPAN January 29, 2013 9:00am-12:00pm EST
so it's multifaceted. we have not, we have not had, we've not been able to have all of the u.s. naval and coast guard presence that we'd like to have because of other global competing demands, but it's still a very active program, particularly in west africa and the gulf, now extending into east africa as well. i take the opportunity to highlight a couple of things. so in, on both coasts of africa we have been able to help african countries establish a series of maritime radars so that they can track and monitor commercial traffic that's operating in their territorial waters or in their exclusive economic zones. that is very, very important, not only from a hazards prevention standpoint that from
fisheries enforcement, and sadly, particularly in west africa, in helping african law enforcement address a growing narcotics problem, illegal narcotics problem, coming mostly from central and south america into force in west africa. in the gulf of guinea, i would highlight a notable program, the first that anyone is aware of of a truly effective partnership, not between two african countries but between two of the african unions, regional economic teams. so the gulf of guinea as you all know rests on the boundary between the economic community of west african states and the economic community of central african states. and through a number of workshops as mentioned, mostly
legalistic manners but to help those to regional organizations craft sharing arrangements that have allowed for the nations to share law enforcement information, to allow for pursuit of, a hot pursuit of criminals across the borders, whether that's illegal a sherry, whether oil bunkering or other illegal activities. so still a lot of work to do in the domain of maritime security, but progress is being made. the challenge, of course is that operations in the maritime domain are the most expensive than operating in any other domain other than space. ships are expensive. patrol craft are expensive. expensive to procure. they are expensive to maintain. the radars are very expensive, so it's a tough, tough thing to work through this.
so we are again working with the number of u.s. government agencies as well as other nations that are willing to contribute to help the maritime officials on both coasts establish the security that they need. so thanks. it's alive and well. not quite as alive and well as of like it to be. i would like to get more coast guard presence particularly because of the law enforcement aspect of this and will keep moving in that regard. so with that, again let me just say thank you all for making time this afternoon. this has been for me these past two years an extraordinary journey. again, like most of the military, i started not knowing much about africa. i'm at a point now about two years later were i can comfortably say i am beginning to understand just how much i don't know. about africa. because just when you think you
understand the complexity of the challenge, another layer of complexity is revealed. but the u.s. relationship with african countries is important. it's growing in importance. the military component is a piece of that, and we're very glad to be part of our nation's engagement with our african partners. make you very much. dr. scott, thank you. [applause] >> and i want to thank you for your participation. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> the senate is back at 10 a.m. eastern, and could vote on the nomination of john kerry to be secretary of state. here's a look at some of the new members of the senate. republican deposition of nebraska who won an open seat against bob kerrey. in new mexico, representative re martin heinrich was elected to replace retiring senator jeff bingaman. over in north dakota former state tax commissioner and state attorney general heidi heitkamp was elected in november.
and in maine, former governor angus king, was elected to the u.s. senate as an independent. he replaces republican olympia snowe who retired. >> on thursday, president obama's pic to be defense secretary chuck hagel will testify at a senate confirmation hearing. we will have live coverage from the senate armed services committee at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span radio. >> the 2005 real id act establishes standards for drivers licenses and other documents based on recommendations from the 9/11 commission. 13 states are fully compliant with a lot today. next, a conversation on state id standards posted by the heritage foundation. this is 50 minutes. >> good morning, welcome to the heritage foundation. we, of course, welcome those who join us on our heritage.org website. those that will be joining us on
c-span as well. i would ask everyone in house if you will check to make sure cell phones have been turned off as we prepare to begin. always helpful. i am pleased today to cohost this event with the coalition for a secured driver's license, as we discuss real id and its affects. hosting a program on behalf of heritage is jessica zuckerman, research associate in our center for foreign policy studies. she studies researches and writes on border security, counterterrorism, immigration reform, democratic institutions, and the rule of law. prior to joining us in 2009 she was assistant to heritage is visiting fellow matt mayer and helped him research for his book, homeland security and federalism, protecting america from outside the beltway. she received her masters of public administration with an emphasis in federal policy from george washington university. she holds a bachelor of arts degree in spanish and international relations from ohio state university.
please join me in welcoming my college, jessica zuckerman. jessica. [applause] >> and two, john. and thank you all for joining us today. the real id program sprang from the recommendation of the national commission on terrorist attacks upon the united states, better known as the 9/11 commission. the commission found that 18 of the 9/11 hijackers had 30 ids between them, including six that were used on the morning of the attack. the commission called on the federal government to set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and secure identification such as driver's licenses. recognizing that sources of identification are the last opportunity to make sure people are who they say the art and to help hold gary sick to be. the real id act is not just an important tool for holding terrorist activity and security. it's also an important tool for helping to combat fraud and identity theft. passed in 2005, the real id act sets voluntary standards for the states to meet regarding id security speak these include facial recognition capture,
improved document authenticity, data verification between face come increased card security, enhanced issuer integrity, and lawful status checks on noncitizens applicants. by meeting these standards state ids will be acceptable for official purposes. however, citizens of states that have not yet met these identification standard will not have their ids accepted for federal purposes. unfortunately, the administration soft-pedaled and has him paired the real id's enactment. in 2005 dhs secretary napolitano put much of her force behind the past id act which would effectively roll back portions of the real id act. most recently, dhs has failed to provide states in implementing the real id act standards. and as a result, three deadlines have been missed and dhs has issued a further extension just recently. currently, only 13 states have been deemed fully real id compliant, but many more have indicated that they're willing to comply with the law. with that let me turn it over to
our fellow panelists and their juices pashtun and it reduce them quickly. the policy director for the coalition for coalition for a secured driver's license. mr. meehan directs federal strategy development and government relations for dsd l. he has also tested on a number of panels and before several state legislators as a subject matter expert in the area of identification secured. next to him we are jennifer cohan. she was appointed director of the delaware division of motor vehicles. or state public service career has spanned 20 years, she's held an array of positions within the division of motor vehicles, culminating in her appointed as the director. working in such capacity of motor vehicles support -- at the inception of aggression moved on to become an administrative officer in the motor fuels tax administered should buy 1997 jennifer was working in a capacitor financial program analyst at the department of natural resources and environmental control. from 98-2002 she was program manager for the clean water
program act after that department, and by 2002 the culmination of her experience and expertise provided her with a very challenging and rewarding opportunity to work as senior legislative analyst for the delaware state legislator within the office of comptroller general. finally, jennifer graduated from woman can university with a bs degree in business management and an m.s. degree in public administration as well. jennifer also attended the phils institute of government at the university of pennsylvania. last on the panel today is lord ref count as. lori is an assistant director in u.s. government accountability office. education workforce and income security team's in washington, d.c. having received a ba in political science from west virginia university and a masters in russian studies at georgetown university, lori has been with the gao since 1984, leading a wide range of efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs. lori's work has included evaluations of federal worker training, protection of
workplace quality programs as well as assessments of efforts to protect the integrity of social security numbers. lori has also led internally focused efforts to enhance training opportunities and career development for the g8 of staff. let me turn it over to andrew. >> as jessica said, the real id act reticent significant investment against identity theft and fraud. since 2005 in complying with real id, the states made tremendous progress in meeting the requirements and updating the security's for driver's licenses. just to give you a brief smattering of what that looks like him in 2007 you only have about 27 states are confirming immigration status before issuing a driver's license. now the number is as high as 48 out of 86 jurisdictions. this is a significant increase. 96% of states provide fraudulent document recognition training for their employees, and 89% of states perform background checks to have access to sensitive information such as social security numbers and birth certificates. these represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to
progress made by the states in complying with the real id act. where we are today. the real id act has been extended for times that i use that would listen to speculate it's been extended indefinitely today and most recently differed. a large part to a lack of consistent messaging by dhs, many of the motor vehicle issues have strong reservations about real id state, despite it into law the olympic many of move forward with compliance while others have lagged behind the last december, dhs made an announcement that 13 states met the standards of real id and that dhs would grant what's called a temporary deferment to all others. and dhs has testified last march that it's important dhs provides, the regulation provides dhs the ability to recognize comparable programs in states and territories that issue driver's license and ids quote consistent with the minimum requirement of the regulation. this interpretation of what our comparable programs has allowed to dhs to do now, kind of a
mission accomplished on those 13 states. this was alluded to in testimony before the house judiciary committee. however, there are positive signs that dhs is moving forward. the deferment is temporary and it appears dhs is conducting reviews on a state-by-state basis. a new birth certificate pilot has recently been announced that will complete over the next couple of years, inc. to test the viability of birth certificate fraught as the dmv. buwhile there are some signs tht dhs is money in the right direction, more needs to be done. dhs has prevailed issue with the motor vehicle agency has. regular and perhaps more consistent communication with the states are crucial to getting the states to work in the goal of securing identification. as always, motor vehicle agencies do need funding. money spent for real id is an excellent investment in homeland security.
a request should be included in this years budget that includes money for the states to influence real id. 14 states have passed legislation prohibiting compliance with the real id act yet many of the states to receive substantial funding under the real id act. dhs may want to compel the states or take action to comply with the real id act. congress should continue to monitor how the department is carrying out its responsibility. over the past couple of years congress has been diligent in its oversight of dhs by sending letters and conducting a hearing. however, given that dhs has not responded with any real action, congress may want to look at additional avenues through conducting oversight over the department. and this may include but certainly not limited to looking at how dhs uses the extension authority and how it is verifying information submitted by the states. lastly the real id act represents over seeks to raise the motor vehicle agencies to a minimum standard. many states have decided to move
beyond that standard while others have remained satisfied with the status quo. unfortunately, the goal of secure identity to be met all jurisdictions must purchase with a real id. despite says -- setbacks, have proved the an excellent vehicle to the goal. >> i'm happy to be here today. delaware is the state with the most experience with the federal real id act. we have a saying in delaware, it's good being first. and casing and cementing real id i'm not sure how the holes today. we are one of the 13 states that are considered compliant by dhs. we have been issuing federal real id documents since 2010. i just want to go for briefly of how we got where we were and what we've done as we're implementing the program. we have done it successfully in delaware. we are a small state. we did get federal funding to be able to do it and we started right away because we didn't want to do a big bang approach to implementing the act. so in 2007, we started verifying
the documentation by using electronic verification processes as well as fraudulent document recognition training for all of our staff. we also started verifying with the social security and administration real-time in 2008. and we also started doing immigration status verification in 2009 as well. so we put these things in place one at a time so that our citizens would be accustomed to these new changes and new requirements. going slow and steady was very, very crucial to our success. right now in delaware federal compliance to real id -- that's one thing i want to make clear. we are trying to depoliticize so we did not the federal real id act. we called it secured driver's license for delaware. we recognize it wasn't just the right thing to do, but it was the right thing to do for our citizens for identity for pursuit -- identity protection and things along those lines but it was a win-win for us. we had a huge pr campaign. we wanted to make your our citizens were educated.
they knew what to expect with a new requirements and what they specifically had to bring in our to obtain a new document. we did that for us throughout the state and we're still doing that today. i want to back up a little bit and talk about what we did before we started implementing the law. we had to do a database. when i say that, all deemed these in north america have the same issue. we have legacy data and some of the legacy data is fraudulent. so we had to clean our social security number and information from the social security. to give you an example, we had 18,000 social security discrepancies that we had come and this is just oliver, a population about 900,000. we had 18,000 discrepancies we had to verify. we did that and we reached out to all those people have discrepancies and gave him time to fix that. if they could not fix discrepancies, we deemed it fraud and we suspended the license. same thing with a fake to
recognition school. we had about 1.5 million photos in our database, and we ran those with a face recognition structure which means they're compared with all the photos into databases if anybody had multiple identities. in delaware a logo about 10,000 of those in our database. as we went to a database cleansing, we realized that this was an issue. we narrowed that 10,000 down to 1300 fraudulent cases of people with multiple identity. and that's a lot, 1300 in the state of delaware, and most of these people had on average between nine and 20 different ids. so that was a huge issue for us. we adjudicated all of those cases and turn those cases over to our state police crimes you know, and some of those people were actually and major crime syndicates. so we were glad we went through that process. we also have some security improvements with the issuance process. the political making in delaware come to ask him to begin the undulate with a driver's license or identification card.
we knew we had to all of the security functions and still have these people walk out with their driver's license or id card. most of it would be accomplished because while the checks we had to do. but we did it and we did it successfully and even increased our customer service. it's faster now than it ever has been before. before the new system, somebody would come in, do the transaction, put forth their information, pay for the transaction and go stand in line and get their photo taken. so there was a huge security process change that we had to make it right now when you come into the dmv in delaware the first thing you do is you get your photo taken. it's running a facial recognition check while you're getting the rest of the information provided. we do real-time social security checks, real-time immigration checks. and again in capturing that voted it is crucial for us. every front-line dmv employee has had a full criminal background check and annual fraudulent document rescue -- document recognition dream. with state-of-the-art equipment, trained employees, and it's been
working very, very well force. a federal real id act is very, very specific about security of the actual card stock and the equipment used to make the license. so in each one of our facilities we have what we call a secure room, which is a little overkill in my opinion, but there are bulletproof walls, bulletproof glass, special security required to get into those rooms that at all the equipment, whether it is printer ribbon, everything that you can use to make a driver's license in delaware is located in had been. so that was part of our being compliant with the federal real id act. i want to give you a little bit of what my concerns are right now with the information we have been getting back from dhs to quit in the mid-the law as it stood on the books which includes a statement in actual title section 202 that you have to mark the card. a positive mark in its complaint, and in delaware because you get a noncompliant card, it has to read not for federal purposes. that is hardcoded in the law.
dhs is kind of backpedaling a bit on that, even though we are three years and was marking the cars positively and negatively. my concern with that is that in delaware, we have about a 60% compliance rate so there's going to be about 40% that either choose to use the passport or just don't want to provide information for compliant car. so walking around with this not for federal identification marking on their carpet and examples of what they look like if anybody wants to take a look at afterwards. they are running into quite a bit of unforeseen issues. tsa, although they're not supposed to be enforcing it, are still not allowing the noncompliant card. we got far out in front of implementation and being almost penalized for being so. so that's something we're working out with dhs. i am hopeful bill with new leadership at dhs that we are making progress, which i haven't been able to say that in two years, so i am hopeful. but just to give you an idea on how it's working in delaware,
when we first implemented the program we were having probably about three to four fraudulent attempt to get drivers licenses a week. a week. and now we've had only six a chance in the last year. so we know that our system is working and we note the word about our system is out on the street and people are not trying, no not even to attend. so again we are very happy with where we are out as far as protecting the citizens of delaware. we are looking for some more support and samore hacking from dhs, and hopeful that we'll get that in the coming months. so, thank you. >> greetings everyone. before i do my presentation, in case there are those of you out there don't know who gao is, just very briefly, we are part of the legislative branch and we respond to congressional requests for information or mandates in law. and what i'm going to talk about today is the work that we completed and issued last fall where we were asked by congress to take a look at sort of on a
macro level what you've been hearing about here, more specifically, and that is what progress has been made over the last 10 years or since september 11. what have states and key federal agencies in doing to address some of the threats that became known at that time. and so what gao does is we go out, we gather information, and with an eye toward identifying things that federal agencies or congress can do to enhance the efficiency of these operations. as you recall when we were out visiting and chatting and looking at our data, real id had not gone into place. and as you know, of course, states don't have to comply if they don't want to. so this was not a compliance review but real id was very much the context of our work because you had some states that were looking to comply and are trying to do what they could. there were some states who denied any intention of complying, that they still nonetheless realized that these sorts of identity verification features were really critical to
securing driver's license issuance. so again it was sort of a subcontract for everything we did. so again, we kind of went in, looked to see what's good, what's working, and i think the delaware experience here is a little bit of a microcosm of what we found. in general, there's a lot of good news to report. states have really made a lot of progress in confirming that the identity presented, at least, some of the issues with her terrorists since september 11 to a lot of fake identities that were not even associate with real folks. so what we found, states are confirmed this is a real person. they are using dhs or at least having agreement to use the dhs system. you heard about facial recognition technology. a lot of scanning software with the can take a driver's license or passport into the system and it will tell you if it's any good. we know there are some challenges for that now. they have all done the training. they have good internal controls. we also found about 245 states
were doing a photo sharing arrangement, where if you are participating state, if someone came in and surrendered a license you could check to see if that was really a real license in that state. again, about the time of our review of the 2425 of our state. ssa and tedious also deserve some credit, to be fair. since they've done a lot to ramp up its system to include that data more quickly. there was a loophole several years ago where the death records were not put into a database, some of -- summit could take advantage of the time. and potentially get a license. under a deceased person's name. so they've done a lot to pull but in. they respond very quickly, the verification rates. what we heard from states they were pretty happy with that system. dhs, the system is more problematic if there's a lot of data that goes into it about legal status and all of that. but dhs said been doing a lot to try to help the verification, to help you access to an states are very positive about the progress
that has been made the. the of the big thing, dhs has given out about $270 million in grants to a variety, almost all of the states, regardless of whether or not they plan to comply with real id. these grants were used for a variety of things, whether to buy that new systems or to enhance what they were currently doing, do some training or facial recognition technology, to reconfigure offices. so again, a lot of support there to try to help. some can argue that was a drop in the bucket for the costs that states were occurring, but nonetheless this was a good chunk of change that dhs gave out. so of course, gao always has to have a not so good news, and the big message that came in our report is, despite the progress that has been made there some key vulnerabilities that still remain. and what we heard was, criminals like everybody else, times change, things change, and that
tighter we tried to make certain procedures, criminals are very creative and they find new ways to get around the procedures. so what we heard about and what we saw and were able to prove is there's a little more of an insidious threat now which is, instead of creating a fake id, but criminals are doing is just stealing others identities. and you can do that in a couple of ways. get the name and then you get other information and to dummy up all the documents. security card, a person to become a driver's license, other documents, or you can buy a package. weird stories were several hundred dollars you can get an identity package that has all the key date in the that you need. and the b. of this is, if this is a license holder summer in the system, you may still be able to get a license and that license holders name, and it really isn't a bulletproof systematic comprehensive way for the state to another. there's a couple reasons why. one his birth certificate. a big hole there. it's a piece of paper that
everybody seems to think is a good form of identification. but they are easy to get and they are easy to forge. they are easy to get because you can pretty much go to any vital records agency, give them some information, get a birth certificate. and in some cases a lot of birth certificates to the other thing is that easy to forge because there are thousands and thousands of lawful formats out there for birth certificates. so the first week -- the weak link there is this document is a piece of paper that can be easily obtained and easily forged. the second thing is all the systems that we've talked about here, and begin states should be given kudos for putting systems in place, that either were not designed or in many cases are not capable of addressing this type of what we are calling across the state fraud which is where, if in a criminal i might steal an identity of someone in state and then go to another state and get a license in that person's name in that state. ..
large depending upon the envy of the employee or local motor vehicle to literally check anytime someone surrenders a license to call up and get information or any time someone brings in documents that don't look quite right a few are depending on the initiative of local organization this vulnerability exist. there are two systems people have been working on a long time and rest of going to be working
on. the first has to do with birth certificates. the electronic verification of vital events. this is the digitization of birth certificates. it was dhs good the pilot of this. seems like a good idea. you take a birth certificate you are given and verify with a database that this is a real birth certificate that there are a lot of questions, cost, participating fees, even though a lot of other organizations use this, they are not accessing it fully. how much is it going to cost? are the day accurate and remember how weak they are to get, how easy they are to forge, sometimes how good is the system if i can go into a record agency and pick up a birth certificate of someone i am not related to. the other system is state to state. an area where dhs provides money for a consortium of states to
work on. the ideal would be if someone came in for a driver's license presenting an identity, the state would be able to confirm that that identity is not associated with a license in the other states. great idea principle but when you get into details, privacy, technology, a lot of those issues have come up. at the time of our report what we reported was this group saying they were looking to pilot the system in 2015 with ultimate full implementation by 2023. long time. longtime to live with this boulder ability out there and in fact what we did was exploit this vulnerability because we wanted to see how easy could we do this? how is this possible? lot of states have done a lot of things. if you look at the whole country as a system, we are only as strong as the weakest link, only as strong as whatever loophole is still there for criminals to
exploit. what we did is we created -- we have an identity that as far as the security administration is concerned, we brought up security card and driver's license and birth certificates and all this stuff you would need and selected three things. we went to present our information and less than an hour we didn't walk out because they were sent reprocessing but had temporary drivers license. two of those, we turned around and got a second driver license the same day with the same person but using a different set of identity documents. in a couple weeks we had five licenses, the same person with five licenses and a variety of names. we selected those states, and didn't necessarily have code-sharing or scanning software, but week held what we were doing was acting like a criminal would do, exploiting those vulnerabilities. the other sort of thing we thought about as to why this
vulnerability existed is we looked at dhs to say under the lot dhs is responsible for certifying compliance and telling states what they need to do to comply. there is nothing that specifically says the word provide guidance but in fact dhs has guidance but in our report what we said is it stopped -- it is not comprehensive and has not been proactive and we gave a couple examples where it took four years to even provide guidance on the identity verification, when we were doing our work, we would put out comprehensive documents to figure out how to comply if they wanted to end when we met with them, we now think we would like to leave it to the states to tell us what they think we can do, we don't feel that is appropriate and we reported that in our report.
we said interim period now where we have addressed a lot of issues from ten years ago but there is critical vulnerability out there and stayed there doing the best they can, whether they are looking to comply, they realize there are some things, there's really a need for federal strategic leadership. we talked about how it could be more proactive and provide guidance, what did they do in the interim. and encourage more states to participate in code-sharing. some state that trying to do birth certificate validation for folks in their state. it is problematic but has some opportunity. and dhs, and this was before the
law went into effect. compliance certainly could be affected and it is not may -- initial compliance given their flexibility and whether people want to comply is an issue in addressing what continues to exist. >> the want to add anything? >> quick update on state to state, the vice president, go ahead. >> and the state which was mississippi, and took almost a year, and we are implementing in a white 2014. and full implementation. states are coming non and it is like 8 per year estimated. it will take awhile for states to come on board but we're back
on track. >> there are two and other systems that have been available. and many states agreed to increase the efficiency of their processes, one case where they were required to hire more full-time personnel and real id saved the state money because they were able to process drivers license applications more efficiently and quickly. >> we will open up the questions. i ask that you wait for the microphone to come around for those of our viewers on line. and state your name and who you are. no one? okay. >> the coalition of driver's licenses, regarding the branding discussion of the specifics of
the law, not withstanding your courage in being the first state out there, hope you realize how difficult it is to be the first of the states to take on a difficult task, regarding the law, you pointed out before, it seems inconsistent the agency charged with enforcing the law, mixed messages about something as specific as the requirement that licenses be positively marked. and a lower standard marked not for federal identification purposes. can you expand on that in terms of the problems created for the public when you go to t s a or the court house and know the difference to comply with blowout loss because not all the agency's work for dhs. let me give you a specific example, the federal bureau of
investigation investigates tens of thousands of people in the united states the majority of which are witnesses, not necessarily perpetrators of crimes or guilty of anything but simply people who are somehow peripheral to investigation. the fbi lies in the first thing they ask for is the driver's license. what kind of complications can you envision in delaware where 40% of people are not going for federal id purposes, the fbi director's testimony before congress how important the real id completion is to federal law enforcement? >> two things with that. very troublesome for us because we specifically asked the question about that. is hard coded, the real id act that you have to mark the negative cards for federal identification. year-ago we were two years in
and i specifically asked the award meeting, dhs representative we have all these unintended consequences with negative markets, what is your recommendation and the recommendation i got back was quit marketing your card negative because that was struck -- stressful is hard coded in the real id act itself, and you have to abide by the law as written. a lot of our citizens in delaware said other states are not marking their cards negative, why are we doing so here? my response is it is small. it is very confusing and we have not scheduled a couple weeks ago with t s a which we canceled because we got guidance from dhs about compliance but anyone who has been to an airport, please have your federal identification ready for you. it is a very confusing -- we are looking for guidance and telling citizens they need to abide by. if they had a card, you have to
have another form of identification with you. what did that consists of and is this going to happen? we are still struggling with how to deal with at based on a letter of the law, we are not going to back off negative marking cards, but it is difficult to navigate what comes out as far as enforcement. we have been promised that we will get comprehensive enforcement and timetables in the fall so we are looking forward to that and they have reached out to delaware to get our involvement. i am trying to be optimistic. >> the whole purpose behind the branding, important to realize the branding was included to suggest if you don't want to issue a card by this standard you can still issue a card to everyone but it has to include a signal or some kind of alert to law enforcement or t.s. a that this was issued under a lower standard and as such you should
ask for different id. it was a very important moment of a security measure that was put in place specifically for the slower tiered purpose. >> believe we have another question. >> a question for laurie -- lori rectanus 11. a lot of brands given to the states. can you comment on what has been spent and if congress has pulled back the funding? >> i actually don't know that off hand. i don't believe they have pulled back any when we left our report. i don't know that. do you? >> don't think so. the grant money issued under real id was 2,011 and that was part of the state and local programs they had, another $50 million ofthou cf1 oholders
birth certificates. and immigration reform discussion, seeing the framework but not the whole fanged, but in 2010, based on a provision that called for nationalization, and birth certificate. this seems to be a good idea. i wanted to see what the panelists thought, starting to worry about what was doable, and say we can't do that or general funds, not sure why that is similar. >> i will pull the the 0 card and say we don't make policy and wouldn't comment on that but i would say federal versus states issue, there is money involved.
has to do with financial vitality of local vital statistics, so i think that there are many political issues that need to be addressed and it all sounds really good on the face of it but when you think of how that would be accomplished there could be a lot of unanticipated consequences. >> more than 50 entities, thousands of different birth certificates. might be reversing 6 dozen entities in 14 kind of certificates. >> 14,000. >> that was a factor that needs to be sufficient to take effect. >> it is important to note is not a new idea either. intelligent performance and prevention act of 2004 that included a provision requiring them to set standards for birth certificates which goes more to
the core of the 9/11 commission's recommendation. there was an announcement regulatory notice that they would be issuing proposed regulation in september. i think that they were a little optimistic in that the election was rider around the corner but they have since made another announcement that proposed regulation would be coming out in march. i wouldn't hold your breath. >> to the funding issue, i pointed out the information, the reports done by janice here, reports really look at that funding issue more than anyone else i have seen. great source out there. janice is joining us today. >> good morning. state university of buffalo. my question is for jennifer.
what is the differences were enhanced drivers license and one that is in compliance? new york state looking at the matches is not fully compliant but we issue driver's licenses that are valid. >> it varies from state to state. that dollars not an enhanced drivers license state, we are complying with the real id act but there are some states that dhs by looking at a process which similar to what the real id back to work requirements are redeemed to be compliant. it is a different format particularly -- most of the verifications are the same. >> intelligence performance in 2000 culture for man terrorism prevention act in 2004 required c d p verify citizenship everybody exiting and entering the border. it is a big problem for folks in new york state or border states and may not have had access to a passport. it could take six to eight months and there were huge
delays at the passport office. to meet that problem, the state department with dozens of protections to work with several states, washington state, michigan, vermont and new york, enhanced drivers licenses, a central issue is only issued to u.s. citizens and a document that cdt certified for fat several notices, and demonstrate the holder citizenship. if you could imagine you are living several notices, and demonstrate the holder citizenship. if you could imagine you are livingseveral notices, and demonstrate the holder citizenship. if you could imagine you are living in buffalo, new york and crossing the border all the time to conduct business and you way tweet months to get a passport through a federal mandate you don't understand, this creates a lot of problems. cbt was flexible with requirements, starting with strong public affairs campaigns, and offering sheets at the border to make sure they
understood this was a requirement and the state speaking very aggressive in making sure the enhanced drivers license was available. >> amongst the talk of nationally standardized birth certificates, social security records, sharing of pictures for facial recognition purposes. what is the argument? and national id? >> real id is not a national id? very simply it is not. national id is something issued by the federal government. real id or driver's license issued by the state. restart contrast. >> the component that i believe
was point to, it is not required to meet this. there is definitely the incentive of being recognized for federal purposes but there are other ways to go about that and the ways that the standards are met are not necessarily going to be the same from state to state. >> absolutely. i agree with that 100% with what the federal real id act did was implement minimum standards. didn't tell states how to meet those minimum standards and we are doing a couple things that are not necessarily dictated in the real id act. when you put the package to dhs and you are not doing state to state verification because it doesn't exist yet, we're doing several procedures in place to do the same thing but not in that format but a lot of states are making progress and a lot are doing things in different ways, whether it is using electronic verification systems, and a multitude of different
things for the minimum standards. >> and facial recognition, those and not required by the real id act or the regulation. people get confused about 40 pages, pretty accessible. >> no comments either? that would be wonderful. >> i have done a lot of work -- i am a former 9/11 counselor, i did lot of work in id recommendations in the 9/11 commission report, it was 19. have written two annual report on implementation that some of you are familiar with. and as you know, part of the
2004 intelligence reform act, piece of it requires a birth certificate regulation. we suggested that as a recommendation in the 9/11 commission report because we learned when we looked at what was legal but there were a few fraudulent obtained especially in virginia there were legitimately issued va ids but not fraudulently obtained and fraudulent ids who have gone to counterfeiters and gotten those in july before they got into august. so birth certificate piece of it, foreign the glee, the birth certificate is one of the most vulnerable documents around. jessica mentioned that. part of the 2004 act was id act and creation of real id suggestions, real id -- i am
sorry. at the end of the piece of it, the birth certificate, driver's license details, the birth certificate regulations were written, they have been sitting there for four years. i have met multiple times with gentleman who helped undo that regulation creation, he met with all the states, it was sitting there in the george bush administration and obama administration for political reasons they have not wanted to release that regulation. so he has gone to nonprofits to digitize the vital record, make that accessible to driver's license issuing agencies and any other agency that needs it. it is the one piece of real id that has not hooked in well and the states have complained is a cost issue and i would love to hear the response to that issue
of the cost review, and to the 9/11 commission side of it, checking begins that side, the birth certificate is one of the most vital things you can do. and it has been a tremendous job in digitizing those records. they have been tremendous. would have been the issues with the state in terms of not implementing that piece of real id. >> i will give you a delaware perspective of the sand was alluded to before. it was extremely complicated. a no number of jurisdictions, there are so many different levels of technology involved in 14,000 different birth certificates and in delaware we are just getting moving on the delaware records. it has been a long process in
the state of delaware, it has been very difficult so i don't necessarily think there's a problem. it is not moving as fast and the fact that because we were not doing verification for delaware, we are verifying the authenticity of the birth certificate document and electronica the and fraudulent document recognition training for all the employees and we have been successful with it so it would seem that second check is still in compliance. we need to move quick but there are 70 different issuing entities, not just in the state. we have a huge issue with the pr birth certificate, their own government said don't accept any birth certificates. it is a huge issue, i am an optimist. i feel we are making progress. it is not moving as fast.
>> for me -- >> wait for the microphone. >> one of the biggest issues is the identity theft issue that loren was talking about. i am not as clear as i usually am but for me i work with passing the law that was an identity theft law in 1998 and the identity theft side of this is just as important to me. on the public safety side has any of the counterterrorism the shoes as well. we have a lot when we present the identity theft. everybody uses identity theft if they want to use something nefarious at all. for me that is one of the issues i emphasize the last couple years was getting by leftist checked. >> it should be noted there is a new $2 million pilot they're doing in three states. is going to be different from the first pilot that they did. we will look at the vital
records agency, clean them up for standard is going to move to emigrating through the process which was something they really -- was almost a nonstarter two years ago, not even something they would consider. additionally there is an issue with confirming out of state birth certificates, specifically with ends up happening when you correlate vital records agency, you may get hit with the $5 or $10 cost. when you talk about prudential, that is an issue for the costs of total 10 or 5 or 375, an additional $0.87 to go through these and another $5 double the cost and for agencies and bureaucracies that are typically revenue-sharing this is almost dead on arrival. by the unbelievable value that it does. >> thank you.
>> i am andrew good and the question for jennifer. if you would get a primer at the state level as to usefulness of the non compliant id, pretty amazing, between political and law-enforcement and other reasons, go over why you continue to issue noncompliance ids. >> absolutely good question. there is not actually much difference between noncompliant and compliant in delaware. the noncompliant offers those who are not going to be needing anything for federal purposes or already have a passport or are in the process of getting the documentation they need to get a compliant license. six of ten people coming have what we need. the number continues to go up. our education campaign, on the flip side we are having a lot of unintended consequences like i was describing at people having
that. the drivers' license has become the quasi identification document in this country. people were being turned away from the financial institution because if they can't prove identity to a federal level it is causing those consequences on the flip side. lot of people coming back to get the complaint license. it has been difficult especially without specific guidance from dhs what to expect and what our citizens can expect. >> any last comments from the panel? last question? all right, thank you all for joining us and give a round of applause to our panelists. [applause] >> the u.s. senate is about to gavel in beginning with a general speeches. the chamber will recess from 12:30 to 2:15 for their weekly party lunches. the senate is expected to take consideration of massachusetts senator john kerry's nomination to be the next secretary of
dr. black. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, before whom the morning stars first sang together, we prays your holy name. replenish our senators with new hope as they deal with the difficult issues of our time. remind them that all things are possible to those who believe and that nothing can separate them from your love. may they call to you for help, knowing that you will answer, inclining your ear to hear their cry. lord, give them the hearts and minds of servants who strive to please you. may the words they speak be an
echo of your voice, as you help them to remember that no perplexity can successfully resist your solutions. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
mr. reid: i'm so used to the presiding officer -- the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, i am a so used to the presiding officer allowing someone else to reside, that i was speechless. so i'm very grad at tha glad the president pro tempore is here. we don't see him a lot. it keeps us on our toes. following morning business, the senate will be in morning we'll recess for our weekly caucus meetings at 12:30 until 2:15. we expect the foreign relations committee will report senator kerry's nomination to be secretary of state. i look forward to the senate's consideration of that very important nomination today. yes, i am a told s. 164 is at the desk and due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: a bill to prohibit
the united states from providing financial assistance to pakistan until dr. shakil afridi is freed. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceeding to this legislation at this time. the presiding officer: objection is heard. it will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, today women make up nearly half of the american workforce. more women graduate from college today than do men. more women were sworn into the 113th congress than any congress before that. and there are more women in the democratic caucus than ever before, and that's an understatement. millions of women are the primary wage ener wage earners r families. yet for many women, there is not pay equality. women still bring home 7 cents for every dollar their male
colleagues earn for doing exactly the same work. i have five children. my oldest child is a girl. it's hard to comprehend that she's worth less than one of my boys, who do the same work. it is unfair. and that's true regardless whether a woman has a college degree, regardless of what job she holds and wharl regardless w many hours she spends at the office. they get paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. four years ago the president signed the ledbette lilly ledber pay act. she's campaigned around the state for people -- around the country for people she likes and believe in her. i'm so impressed with her and what she is been able to accomplish, this one woman has accomplished a great deal. the lilly ledbetter legislation,
the first bill that president obama signed as president of the united states, was the single-greatest legislative step to ensure that women have every chance to be full equal participants in the workforce since the 1963 act was passed. while this legislation built on the equal pay act, it has not closed the pay gap. so the senior senator from maryland, senator barbara mikulski, introduced the paycheck fairness act last congress. it is a logical extension of protection of the equal pay act and the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. it would help close the wage disparity so women can get equal pay and provide incentives for employers to follow the rules t would help secure adequate compensation. it is simply not fair that any woman working the same hours and
the same job should take less money than her male coworkers. this commonsense legislation was blocked by a republican filibuster last congress. but senator mikulski, who has done so much to advance the pay equity issue, reintroduced the measure last week. as we mark the fourth anniversary of the signing of the lilly ledbetter act, i applaud senator mikulski for her dedication to american women and families and the principle of equality. would the chair anoins the a-- e chair announce the business of the day. oh, i'm so, i didn't see the republican leader here. my apology, mr. president.
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: over the past several years -- several days, i've spoken of the need for the two parties to come together to address the federal debt. we need to act quickly if we're going to avert a european-style debt crisis and avoid the harsh austerity that that would bring. but this is about more than just avoid ago calamity, as serious as that prospect as become. what this debate offers is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to yap dat update government foe 21st century, to modernize programs that work, and to reform ones that don't. many federal bureaucracies haven't been reformed in any real way since the age of black-and-white television. even if we didn't have a debt crisis, we should want to reform them. this debate is an opportunity to do so. by making government leaner and
more efficient, we can sweep away outdated and heavy-handed regulations that have impeded private-sector growth and the job creation we so desperately need. by reducing the debt we can eliminate an additional drag on our economy. so this isn't a conversation about austerity. it is a conversation about growth and opportunity. that doesn't mean we're all going to agree on the path forward. americans certainly expect a serious policy debate. they expect both parties to offer competing plans to preserve and protect long-term entitlement programs and they expect both sides to propose different plans to get our fiscal house in order and our country back to economic health. now, republicans have done their part. the budget is passed by house republicans over the past couple of years contained fresh ideas that would help solve our fiscal
crisis an. but from the democrats, so far not much. four years on, president obama and congressional democrats still have yet to offer a serious plan to address the economic challenges we face. they have been content to wage political war instead. it is my hope that the debate over the debt ceiling will finally move our friends on the other side beyond their preoccupation with the horse race. already, senate democrats have committed to developing a budget this year after years of ducking their responsibilities to do so. hopefully this will be a serious exercise and not simply an excuse for them to try to raise taxes, which as we all know is just another way to avoid solving core problems.
last week i came to the floor with a chart that showed that even if the president got every single tax increase he asked for, every one of them, we would still not evening come close to solving the problem. not even close. so let's not waste time with more pointless argument argument tax increases. we had that debate already. it's done, it's oamplet i call on democrats to approach it seriously and do it with order. we have to break this putting off all important work until the final hour. tweendz get back to regular order and that takes time. & that's why we need to get started right now. let the tough work of developing a budget and putting together a long-term policy to control government spending begin today not one minute or one hour before we come up against a
deadline, but today. americans deserve better than what they've been getting from washington the past few years. democrats were reelected and i congratulate them. it's time mao to ge now to get s about actually governing. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum call: mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the
senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:30 p.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans controlling the second 30 minutes. the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i understand that i might be recognized for up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and i would ask that i be notified after 12 minutes. the presiding officer: the chair will do so. mr. sessions: mr. president, as we consider the serious issue of immigration reform, it's important for us to understand where we are as a country with regard to the laws that we have and how they are being enforced. i would share some thoughts about that today because the american people and members of congress need to fully understand what's happening. it's well documented that the
obama administration has either unilaterally weakened or outright waived the enforcement at the border, at the -- in the interior and at the work site and at the welfare office of existing immigration laws. that's just a fact. last year, i joined with my colleagues at a press conference with the top representatives of the nation's rank-and-file immigration law enforcement officers. the president with the i.c., immigration and customs enforcement office and the border patrol. those associations or unions elected to serve as the voice of their fellow officers gave a chilling report at that press conference right over in the senate building with several other senators. they gave a chilling report about the administration's systemic effort to -- systematic
effort to dismantle the force enforcements of our immigration laws. at the center of this misconduct is john morton, the director of i.c.e. the evidence that i am about to share with you leads me to the unfortunate conclusion that mr. morton can no longer effectively serve at this post, and perhaps more importantly there can be no comprehensive immigration reform as long as he's the person in charge with enforcing it. what purpose is served to pass new laws if the ones we have are ignored by the officials charged with enforcing them? there is a timeline that i want to go forward to show how mr. morton and the administration have undermined enforcement, and most americans don't fully understand the real effect of these immigration
policies. in reality, right now, if a state law enforcement officer apprehends someone for speeding and discovers, for example, that he is illegally in the country, the result is that nothing happens. they don't even bother to call the federal law enforcement officers to report that they have apprehended someone who is in violation of our immigration law, and the reason they don't call is because nobody will come and get them. and this is something i have discovered over a number of years. when i was attorney general of alabama, i was for 12 years the top federal prosecutor in the southern district of alabama, united states attorney, and i know how the system is working, and it's not working. what happens is they just release them. in town hall meetings, i would ask the members that showed up,
citizens, what happens if your local police officer apprehends someone who is illegally in the country, and they say they call the federal people. or they arrest them and take them to jail. the answer is no, they don't. they release them. that's what they do because the system is utterly broken and not working. now, let me run through a series of events that have occurred in the last several years that further undermine the ability of america to enforce its laws. and let me just say parenthetically, the only way to have a real effective law enforcement system is to welcome , support and affirm the willingness of local law enforcement to participate and assist. there are, for example, some 600,000 state and local law officers out every day, enforcing our laws, protecting our communities.
there are far fewer, maybe 15,000, 30,000 federal officers dealing with immigration. so the real eyes and ears in law enforcement in america are those state and local people. states have been sued for even attempting to assist. this administration is denying and undermining the cooperative agreements that are necessary to work together to effectively enforce the laws in our country, and this is what's causing our problem. let me run through some of these areas and problems that have occurred recently. i may not be able to finish. i will make the rest of my remarks available in the record. in an interview with the "chicago tribune," director morton of i.c.e. announced that i.c.e. may not even process or accept illegal aliens transferred to the agency's custody by arizona officials. they weren't happy with arizona,
presumably, so they would accept people that local law enforcements turn over. in april, an i.c.e. email revealed that low-risk, short-term detainees will now be able to have visitors, stay for unlimited amount of time during a 12-hour window, these visitors can be given access to unmonitored phone lines, emails and free internet calling. they will also be entertained with movie nights, bingo, arts and crafts, dance and cooking classes, tutoring and computer training. that's just one of the new improvements in our system that costs quite a lot of money and utilizes a lot of personnel time. on june 25 of 2010, the national i.c.e. council, the union that represents more than 7,000
detention and removal agents within i.c.e., cast a unanimous vote of no confidence in director morton. according to the officers, their vote reflects -- quote -- "the growing dissatisfaction among i.c.e. employees and union leaders that director morton has on-board the agency's core mission of enforcing united states immigration laws and enforcing public safety and have instead directed their attention to campaigning for programs and policies leading to amnesty, close quote. now, that's not a good thing for the chief law enforcement officer of the country, the people who are the rank and file putting their neck on the line every day issuing such a report, and it's true, unfortunately it is. in august, 2010, i.c.e. began
circulating a draft policy that would significantly limit the circumstances under which the i.c.e. agents would take custody of illegal aliens. the memo further -- the memo provides that immigration officers shall issue detainers or official notification to law enforcement agencies that i.c.e. intends to assume custody of the alien only after a few -- after a law enforcement agency has independently arrested the alien for a criminal violation. now, detainer is a big deal. detainer -- if anyone understands how law enforcement works, is a critical component of modern law enforcement. so if a state has a charge against another individual, if the federal government has a claim against an individual, they are being held by a different law enforcement agency, you place a detainer on
them, and when the arresting jurisdiction completes their work with the person, they are not released on the streets. they are detained until they are turned over to the other legitimate law enforcement agency who has pending charges. if you don't have that, murders are released and people are released and it's really an improvement in law enforcement over the last 50 years. so this is a diminishment of that significantly. in effect, no longer will i.c.e. pick up an illegal alien for illegally entering the country or having a false identification immigration document if they are being held by state and local people for some local crime. according to -- october 8 of 2010, according to i.c.e. deportation statistics from october, 2009, until september, 2010, the agency deported
390,000 aliens, but most of those were people -- half of those at least were people who were convicted of serious criminal offenses, independent of the immigration violations. in -- on december 6 of 2010, interviews with internal communications -- interviews and internal communications cited in "the washington post" indicate the -- that that number, 390,000, was a padded number. first the article charges that i.c.e. included almost 20,000 removals in fiscal year 2010 that were really from the previous year and not should have been counted. it also describes how i.c.e. extended a mexican repatriation program beyond its normal operating dates, which in effect
added 6,500 removal numbers to the numbers that weren't properly added, shouldn't have been added. on march 2, 2011, in a departmental memorandum, director morton outlines new enforcement priorities that encourages agents not to enforce the law against most illegal aliens but only to take action against those who meet his priorities. so director morton issues a second memorandum on june 17 of 2011. further directing i.c.e. agents to refrain from enforcing u.s. immigration laws against certain segments of the illegal population, criteria similar to that under the dream act, despite having no local or congressional authority to do so and despite the fact that the dream act was three times
defeated in congress. so what they did was they just altered the enforcement policies of the federal immigration officers to effect the dream act that had been explicitly offered and rejected in congress on three different occasions. on june 17, 2011, director morton issues a third memorandum instructing i.c.e. personnel to consider refraining from enforcement -- enforcing the law against individuals engaged in a protected activity. the presiding officer: the senator has used 12 minutes. mr. sessions: i thank the chair. related to civil or other rights. for example, union organizing, complaining about employment discrimination or housing conditions, and who may be in some nonfrivolous dispute with an employer, landlord or
contractor. you can't take action against someone who doesn't pay their rent and has a dispute with their landlord, apparently. they get a special exemption. mr. president, i now offer for the record and ask consent -- i ask consent to be able to supplement and amend my remarks this morning. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: mr. president, there is much more that i could say about this and have many more examples of memorandum issued by mr. morton. and it's just not good. i am a federal law officer. i'm just saying that it's not healthy, and these actions are demoralizing to our agents.
under the dream act criteria that he has executed by executive order, a local -- a law officer out in the field who apprehends someone who is 34 years of age, can't speak english, has no documents, and he says i came here as a youth and i am entitled to dream act protection, they let them go. this is what they have been told. this is what the i.c.e. agents are telling us they have essentially been told. if an individual claims dream act status, even though it never passed into law, they are directed to let them go. on the spot. and it is an evisceration of the law of the united states. mr. morton has no authority to
do so. he should not be doing that. and a huge percentage of our people that are arrested are in their 30's or below. and how are you going to tell? they make the assertion. they make the claim, according to the testimony and statements of these officers, they're told to accept that statement, accept that claim, and not detain or deport the person they've apprehended. so the union report and the detailed charges by i. cry e. are within the administration fear retaliation by the obama administration. and that's a sad state of affairs. so in the coming days, these facts will and more will come to light. the administration has to
realize there can be no comprehensive immigration reform as long as it is the policy of the director o of i.c.e. to enforce existing plain law. that's why given everything that we have learned that director morton cannot continue in office. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. sessions: i would ask consent, mr. president, to have two additional minutes. fer 123er without objection, so ordered. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: we cannot make progress on immigration reform as long as the man in charge of enforcing our laws continues to undermine those very laws and the efforts and work of his own agents. and who refuses to act to protect them even when they haven about asalette assaulted . and by the way, in my remarks
that i've offered, the i.c.e. agents have filed a lawsuit against director morton for undermining the ability to do their sworn duty and the court has just recently upheld the validity of that lawsuit to go forward and it's now going forward. these officers are suing this mr. morton. so the federal government is abdicating its responsibility, it is punishing officers who try to do their duty every day they're being disciplining about it. they are creating more people illegally in the country. they're encouraging more people to come to the country by not enforcing the laws. at a time of high unemployment, the result is we're lowering wages and creating more unemployment. they're suing states who try to cooperate. they are explicitly eviscerating the 287-g program, a program i
worked hard on a decade ago and was expanded to create trained state officers who could help professionally the federal agents to do their jobs. and now the president is making a speech today in las vegas, taking nine hours to get out there, i understand, to make a speech. he's saying again, i guess, trust me. we need to change the law and then i'll enforce it. then we'll have our people follow the rules that you pass. well, this failure to deal in good faith and to actually follow the laws that congress has passed has -- is one of the biggest obstacles we face. we just have to say it. it is one of the biggest obstacles we face in being able to craft some sort of reform of our immigration laws and make it worthy of a great nation. we are a nation of immigrants. we believe in immigration.
but we believe in law. we believe that people should wait their time and people should be able to accept -- be accepted here, over a million a year, in and orderly proficiency not a disorderly process and that we shouldn't be rewarding those who violate the law and making it even harder for those who try to comply with the law enforcement thank the chair and would yield the floor. mr. coats: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: mr. president, i have been coming to the senate floor just about every day that we have been in session so far this year, and i'm going to continue to do so, and talk about what i believe is our most pressing crisis that this body faces and that our country faces, and that is the uncontrolled ru runaway federal
spundzing and accumulated debt and how it is dragging our economy down and how it threatens to provoke a major economic disaster if not addressed. in previous remarks that i have made on this floor, i tried to make the point that if we fail to get federal spending under control in the short term, our economy will remain and continue to remain in the doldrums because of this cloud of economic uncertainty that hangs over and vestors business people and consumers. but i don't want my colleagues to just take my word for it. a host of experts, men tarts, business people -- commentators, business people around investors around the country and around the world, people from both sides of the political spectrum, have been and will continue to make this same point. and the message they make is this: unless washington stops punting
this problem and begins to demonstrate the will to cut spending in serious ways to reduce our long-term debt, the economy will continue to limp along. inkvestors will continue to -- investors will continue to recall on the sidelines, business owners will continue not to hire new employees, and we will hasten the day when investors lose confidence in the united states as a worthy credit risk. i know that the market has responded in a favorable way. i hope that continues. but the fundamentals underlying our current economy don't justify that continuing far into the future. so today i'd like to quote from what others are saying, not just what a senator from indiana believes and has been saying on this floor, and i want to talk about what they're saying about our debt and spending crisis. first i believe we can all agree
-- or most of us can agree on this fact: that the first and the most essential function of the united states government is to defend and protect its citizens from the threats to their national security. as our national debt continues to rise unrestrained, we're putting our children's future and our country's future in a very vulnerable state. perhaps the most dire and frightening warning has come from one of our nation's highest-ranking officials, farmer chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, who said, "the continually increasing debt is the billingest during the time -- biggest threat we have to our national security." not al qaeda, not suicide bombers, not islamic fundamentalists. the biggest threrkts he said, facing our -- the biggest threat, he said, facing our national security, according to the chairman of the joint chiefs, someone who's made a
career leading our country through tumultuous battles in war, the largest threat is our very own red ink. erskine bowles, former white house chief of staff to president bill clinton, also recognizes the imperative need to address our spending and debt crisis. as we all know, bowles was tapped by president obama to lead a bipartisan deficit commission with former republican senator alan simpson. the two men, along with a commission, proposed recommendations for you are a big and bold plan to reduce our long-term debt. rather than heed some of these recommendations and build off of this bipartisan momentum cephal years ago -- several years ago, the president ignored it completely and since has done nothing and offered no plan of his own p. -- of his own to fix our dire fiscal plight other than to propose new taxes. as i mentioned in previous remarks the president got his
tax increases on millionaires and billionaires, but no one should be fooled into thinking that this solves our fiscal crisis. recently in ain' in an intervier chief of staff erskine bowles rightfully criticized the administration and the congress for not striking a significant budget deal and called it the most -- that failure the most disappointing thing in my life. he went on to say, "ther "they'e bouncing from one crisis to noamplet it's nuts. we have an enormous fiscal problem in it country. we've got to put our big boy and big girl pants on and go to worth the problems are real. the solutions painful, and there's no easy way out." finally, said, "we've got to do stuff that's real. i me, there is he no sense in, you know, just working at the edges. if we don't slow the rate of
growth in health care programs," bowles said, "it's going to iept the entire budget and virtually bankrupt the country. the warning signs and the calls for action are coming from all sectors." from the business sector, garry loveman said the following, "keeping the u.s. economy from careening over the fiscal cliff was a first step but our elected leaders must not stop there. although economic recovery has been stalled, reshoed expansion is possible if conditions are set in a comprehensive budget agreement that includes entitlement reform and long-term changes to reduce deficits. in this way," he said, "we will ensure the viability of the health and retirement safety net for future generations of americans." john mullden, publish of mullde
maine economics and author of "end game," a book many of us have heard about and read, said this "the real issue is the deficit. the leaders muc leaders of boths recognize that the current path spelled out on our fiscal balance sheet is unsustainable. the deficit must be brought under control or we will find ourselves all too soon in the situation now facing much of europe and japan. the options at that point become far more dire." and a business owner in my home state of indiana also recognizing these dangers, and i they he reflects the sentiment of virtually every businessperson i've talked at that, rick zaire, a business owner in fort wane, said, we all need to manage our income and not borrow beyond what we can it aford. our country's deficit spend something so far beyond what the rest of us have to live like every day. as a business owner, it makes me
nervous. everyone is paying for deficit spending." economists are sounding the alarm as well. kenneth rogoff, a respected harvard economist said, "idea that one should just ignore all these problems and apply crude keynesian stimulus is a dangerous one. it matters a great deal how the government taxes and spends, not just how much. u.s. debt level is a constrangers" he said. "a growing number of empirical studies, including my own joint work with car men reinhardt, suggest that the u.s. has already reached a debt level that has been associated with slower growth in advanced countries." and our credit rating agencies have also weighed in. these warnings alone should be enough to urge congress and the administration to act. according to the u.s. treasury department's fiscal -- financial report of the u.s. government for fiscal year 2012, "while
these projections are subject to considerable uncertainty, the debt-to-g.d.p. ratio would continue to rise unsustainably under currentpologies." can i stated that again. our own u.s. treasury report said that "unless thesejections are subject to considerable -- while these projections are subject to considerable uncertainty the treasury report says the debt-to-g.d.p. ratio will continue to rise unsustainably under current policy." does that not suggest to us that current policy is not working? when the u.s. treasury puts out a report saying what you are doing here in the congresses is unsustainable. unless you grasp the reality of what is happening with our spending and our debt, we are headed for a crisis if we're not in one already.
when standard and poor's downgraded the debt in august of 2011, they said, "our lowering of the rating was prompted by our view on the rising public debt and our perception of greater policy-making uncertainty." there's that word again, "uncertainty." three no implication again, "failure to take action." mr. president, the time to act is now. we can to longer sit back and hope that this problem is going to go away. too many people want to just think that, well, if we just sort of stumble along the way we're stu stumbling along, it'sl going to work out. we can to longer -- no longer and should no longer accept double-digit unemployment. and yes, i said double digit. while the official number is hovering around 8%, we all know that millions of americans have given up looking for work. millions of others have dropped out of the employment lines, and that the numbers are far higher
and the distress is far greater than what is admitted. this is not a new problem. it's been long recognized even by the president. four years ago, in february, 2009, president obama held a fiscal responsibility summit, and here's what he said, and that's why today, today, 2009, february of 2009, the president said -- "and that's why today i am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. this will not be easy. it will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we have long neglected, but i refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now in this administration for getting our spending under control." but here we are, mr. president,
four years from those remarks. four years where the president's own budget -- bipartisan deficit commission was dismissed. four years from the time when he pledged to the american people he would cut the deficit in half, four years from the times when he said -- time when he said responsibility needs to be taken now. and, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent for three more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: mr. president, thank you. four years from making these statements, here we are where we have added trillions of dollars of new debt. the greatest increase in the history of america, and we have ignored and pushed down the road spending without a real budget proposal or a long-term deficit plan. experts and economists from both
sides of the aisle agree that spending reductions must be part of the equation to address our dangerous debt. the president has called for a balanced approach but has shown no signs of leadership on restructuring mandatory spending. even "the washington post" editorial board acknowledged this in a piece just recently on november 27, and i quote -- not necessarily a conservative editorial board -- "elections do have consequences, and mr. obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy, but he was clear on something else also. deficit reduction must be balanced, including spending cuts as well as tax increases. since 60% of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as medicare, medicaid and social security, there is no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of growth in those programs." so in conclusion, mr. president, let me say this. there is a widespread consensus
about the seriousness of this problem, and the fact that we must take significant measures to rein in our deficit spending and do it now. we need a bold plan that will reduce spending, reform and simplify our tax system, and most of you will restructure medicare, medicaid and social security to preserve those benefits for future generations. in subsequent remarks, i intend to address how congress can get with it and become part of the solution instead of part of the problem and create a long-term deficit reduction plan. that begins, mr. president, by fulfilling our obligation, our constitutional obligation to pass a budget which this body has not done in more than 1,300 days. but let's be honest with ourselves. this will only happen if we, the united states senate, summon the political courage and the will
to engage in direct good-faith bipartisan efforts to deal with our nation's number-one challenge. perhaps alice rivlin, budget director under president bill clinton, summed it up best -- "there is no mystery about what we ought to do. we just need to get on with it." mr. president, my senate colleagues, republicans and democrats, let's get on with it. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today to introduce the immigration innovation or i-squared act of 2013. i'm pleased to be joined here by my colleagues, senator amy klobuchar, senator marco rubio and senator chris coons, without whom this bill wouldn't have materialized. all four of us have worked very closely together and each one
deserves total credit for this bill. together we have drafted one of the first bipartisan immigration bills this congress, one that is designed to address the shortage of high-skilled labor that we face in this country. this shortage has reached a crisis level. for too long, our country has been unable to meet the ever-increasing demand for workers trained in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics or stem fields. as a result, some of our nation's top technology markets like silicon valley, seattle, boston, new york and salt lake city are in desperate need for qualified stem workers. it is critical that we not only recognize this shortage of high-skilled workers but also understand why it exists. increasingly, enrollment in u.s. universities in the stem fields comes from foreign students and despite our urgent need for workers in these fields, we continue to send these foreign
students potential high-skilled workers trained in american universities, back to their home countries after graduation. just recently, i was in a meeting with several leaders in the technology industry where it was mentioned that between 2010 and 2020, the american economy will annually create more than 120,000 additional computer science jobs that will require at least a bachelor's degree, and that's just mentioning one aspect of this. this is great news for many of our computer science students. unfortunately, that's the end of the good news. each year, only about 40,000 american students receive bachelor degrees in computer science. in other words, there are approximately 80,000 new computer science positions every year in the united states that cannot be filled by available american work force positions, i might add positions that need to
be filled so that our technology industry can continue to thrive. simply put, u.s.-based companies have a great need for those trained in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, but at least right now there are not enough americans trained and ready to fill these jobs. we cannot continue to simply hope that american companies do not move operations to countries where they have greater access to individuals trained in these stem fields. we cannot continue to ignore this problem. it's that simple. continued inaction causes us to miss out on an important opportunity, especially since, as the american enterprise institute has confirmed, 100 foreign-born workers with stem degrees create an average of 262 additional jobs for native-born workers. and let me tell you, these countries would love to have their american-educated
ph.d.'s and other highly educated individuals return and boost their economies, not only from their acquired skills but also by creating these new jobs as well. an updated high-skilled immigration system is directly tied to creating jobs and spurring growth across all sectors of our economy. we cannot afford any further inaction on this issue. the i-squared act of 2013 addresses the immediate short-term need to provide american employers with greater access to high-skilled workers while also addressing the long-term need to invest in america's stem education. i'm confident that this two-step approach will enable our country to thrive and help us compete in today's global economy. now, i have mentioned my three prime cosponsors on this bill,
each one of whom deserve credit for this bill, each one of whom has been a pleasure to work with, each one of whom adds a great deal to getting this bill passed. i want to personally thank them for working with me on this issue and for allowing me the privilege of working with them on this issue. let me turn some time over to senator klobuchar who, along with senators coons and rubio, have been prime movers on this piece of legislation. ms. klobuchar: thank you very much, senator hatch. it is good to be here with our strong cosponsors, senator rubio and senator coons, and i want to thank you for your incredible leadership. we have worked as a team, and i think this really is about what this is, it's a team, team america, because we must be a country that makes stuff again, that invents things, that exports to the world, and to do that, we need the world's talent. that is what this bill is about.
as everyone can see by looking at the four of us here on the floor, it's something that both parties can agree on to get this done and to get comprehensive immigration reform done, we must work in a bipartisan manner. i support the comprehensive immigration principles outlined yesterday for reform and look forward to working with my colleagues on the judiciary committee to get this done. the i-squared bill is about encouraging engineers and inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs to work here in this country and to actually discourage companies from contracting out with people in other countries. i can't tell you how many minnesota companies, small companies have told me that they couldn't bring someone over because of the caps and then they contracted with that person in another country. well, guess what? that person then hired assistants and other people to work with them, but in one case, they hired french people instead of hiring americans. in fact, a recent study headed
up by mayor bloomberg of new york, mayor castro of san antonio, mayor nutter of philadelphia, and others showed that for every h-1-v visa, it creates 1.8 american jobs. those are jobs in hawaii, those are jobs in minnesota. look at the fortune 500 companies. 90 of those companies were founded by immigrants, and over 200 were founded by immigrants or their children, including medtronic and 3m in my home state. this has meant an extraordinary number of good american jobs, and we want more. we want the next pacemaker or post-it note, which were invented in my state, to be invented again in the united states of america. i want to quickly lay out the four areas of reform that are included in the i-squared bill. first of all, we reform the h-1-b visa system to meet the needs of a growing science, engineering, tech and medical community and to help the
workers who form the backbone of those businesses. second, we make changes to student visas to encourage students who get degrees here to stay in this country so that we don't just say hey, go back to india or china or some other country and start the next google over there. we want you to start it here. third, we improve the green card system. and finally, what is one of the most important things in this bill, we actually change the visa funding structure so that companies who bring in these high-tech and science and engineering immigrant workers will also be spending some money on funding all of the education efforts we need to do in this country for science, engineering, technology and math, the stem education that's going on in this country. by even a conservative estimate, that would be 300 million a year, something like $3 billion in ten years. that's real change and it can change the system. i'm very appreciative of the work of my colleagues, and i
know senator rubio who has shown great leadership on this issue is next going to talk about the h-1-b and student visa reforms, and again i want to thank him, senator hatch, senator coons for their leadership on this issue. we are very excited about moving ahead with this bill. mr. rubio: thank you, senator. i'm just trying to get my microphone fixed here. this is the first time i speak from this desk. this is my new desk. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. a couple of things. there have been a lot in the news over the last 24 hours about immigration as an issue that confronts our country. i wanted to put this in the context of that and then talk specifically about the details that are within this. first of all, in the context of immigration reform, there are things that i think the vast majority of americans would agree, and one of them is this -- that we have a legal immigration system which is not working for the country, and i think despite the debate that exists about illegal immigration and how to deal with that reality -- and that's a real debate that needs to happen -- one of the things everyone agrees on is that legal immigration is good for this country, it's been an important part of our history, it's a
critical part of our future, and that the legal immigration system that we have in place right now does not work for america, and it really does not work for the 21st century. now, let me be clear about one thing -- i support family-based immigration. that's how my parents came to this country, and i don't want us to do anything that undermines it, but i also know that in the 21st century, we can no longer afford to have an immigration system where literally only less than 10% of the people who come here do so based on the skills that they bring to this country. now, think about this for a moment. if i said to you that the united states of america -- that the nba should be a collection of the best basketball players in the world, who would disagree with that? if i said that major league baseball should be a collection of the best baseball players in the world, who would disagree with that? how can we disagree with that when it comes to our economy? we should want the smartest, most talented people to come here. i have no fear that our country will be overrun by ph.d.'s and
inventors andent preening nurse. now, we have to create a system where that can happen in a rational, organized and legal way. a and that's what we're attempting to do here because that is not what we have right now in the united states. what we have is a system -- and senator hatch has discussed it -- it is real li startling. the nation nasa demand yearly for 120,000 computer science engineers, but our universities only produce 40,000 people a year. now, this is an indictment of our educational system. we need to fix that. we need to get to a point in this country where we have 120,000 people graduate being to meet the demand. but in the short-term we have to deal with the fact that of our 80,000 graduates are not creating here, those jobs are still going to exist. they are a just not going to exist here. these companies aren't going to wait for us to produce more graduates. these companies aren't going to wait for us to fix our
immigration system. they have got a business to run. if they can't find the people they need to fill those jobs, they will send the jobs to another country. that means that these high-paying jobs in these industries will be paying the taxes in some other country, will be stimulating the economy in some other country, will be laying down roots in some other nation. you want know why america is special? because over 200 years we have been a magnet that attracts people history. now we have an immigration system that is making that very difficult to achievement that's what this effort does. the other concern i have a heard is what about the folks who are in the country now? this is a legitimate concern. when people raise that i don't get upset about that as ever a cerning the need, the need far exceeds what we're producing. so that's not an immediate
concern. but here's the other. that is the startling figure that was used earlier that for every 100 foreign-born stem workers, we're creating 260-some add jobs. it is indisputable. these jobs create jobs for people right down the line. if you are an entrepreneur that is an immigrant, you create jobs for all kinds of people, most of whom were born here. if you create technology, you create jobs and opportunities for people who live here, work here, that were born here. this is a net-positive for our economy. by the way, as we talk about meeting the deal, we can't modernize america's imgrabbing system if we don't have way to get the world's best and brightest to come here in a way that's cost-effective, in a way that's safe, in a way that's legal. and that's what we're attempt to do.
this bill is not in competition with any other effort. it implement implements o. -- it complements it. my fin final point. it makes no sense to invite people to come to the united states to study at our universities, to become the best and brightest in the world at the subject matter and then to ask them to leave. think about that for a moment. we tell you, come to america. we're going to let you go to our best schools, we're going to teach you everything we know and then we want you to go somewhere else and use the no j that you gained here. that's crazy. that -- that's not just nonsensicle, it is it is crazy. hopefully we'll begin to change it now. it has been a pleasure to work with all the folks in this effort. senator hatch's leadership.
we worked on this issue in the context of a another piece of legislation which we're hoping to get moving soon, start-up 2.0, an issue t issue for anoth. mr. coons: i greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you on the more than three bills we sponsored in the past congress. to senator hatch, i am grateful to your leadership. as the phaser us introduce today this bill of which we are so proud, the immigration innovation act of 2013. mr. president, for decades, the united states enjoyed the commanding advantage of being home to all the world's top universities, particularly in science and technology, engineering and math in the s
so-called stem fields and we were the best place for the graduates of those universities and their advanced sign programs to stay and launch a new business sms but today that field has changed. and our competitors are strig provide more supportive environments for innovators, inventions and start-up companies. there has been a seed change in the field of opportunity back home for those foreign nationals who in increasing numbers are educated in the united states and whom we then force to return to the nation of origin. so even though many of the most talented young people from around the globe still pour into the united states to obtain their masters or doctoral degrees in stem, now more than ever they are enot just tempted to take their education home with them and start businesses else with they are attracted by their home countries and forced by our outdated immigration system. what an unwise way to compete in the global economy. our outdated immigration system hasn't adapted to the modern
world. half of all masters and doctoral degrees in stem degrees are today earned bid foreign-born students who then face an expensive and unwieldy path to pursuing their dreams in the united states. our country is hemorrhaging innovations and the inventors who make them, and the jobs that come with them. because america's immigration laws have failed to keep up with the demands of the modern age. we cannot afford to keep educating the world's brightest students at our leading universities which i'll remind you are subsidized by u.s. tax dollars and american charitable giving and then telling them they cannot repay their invest investments byibility crincontro the u.s. workforce. that's why i've called for the creation of a new class of green cards for immigrants who have earned and advanced stem degree from an american university. i was especially glad to see
that the bipartisan framework introduced yesterday which moves us towards comprehensive immigration reform embraces this. i also welcome president obama's contributions and look forward to hearing what he has to say today in las vegas. there is indeed broad bipartisan agreement that it's long past time to reform our immigration system to make room for foreign-born, american-educated experts who want to apply their skills, start businesses, and raise their families here. at the same time, we have to dramatically improve stem quags available to american citizens, to fill this dramatic gap in these fields. as senator hatch said just a few minutes ago, if you take the example of computer science, by 2020 the u.s. economy will need 120,000 men and women who fill these jobs. yet just 40,000 graduates with degrees in computer science will be americans. how to fill that gap? so the bipartisan legislation we introduce today tackles both
sides of this problem by reforming our outdated immigration system to allow highly skilled engineers and researchers to stray here rather than leaving and taking their jobs and future opportunities with them and by funneling the hundreds of millions of dollars of fees that these experts pay for their green cards back into u.s.-based education. it is a win-win. the immigration innovation act will reopen the door, recapture unused green cards and move away from the outdated model of country caps. we'll better compete with our countries to the north and east like canada. one of the most important parts of this legislation, as i mentioned, is that we're using fees from these newly expanded h-1b visas and green cards. this will keep america at the cutting edge of science and
technology and fuel economic growth for this country and generations to come. while each of the coauthors of this legislation have made extension contributions, i'm especially grateful to senator hatch for his leadership. would you tell us a little bit more about this legislation? mr. hatch: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i want to thank you, senator coons and senator klobuchaklobuchar and senator rm thirubio.it is a real pleasure k with these partners and others. i want to thank each you for the helpful yoafer view you've given on this bill. it's been a real pleasure for me to work with you three very innovative leaders in the senate. but as a number of you have exined, by eliminating per-country limits for employment-based green cards, recapturing lost
employment-based immigrant visas, exempting certain classes of immigrants from the annual green card limit and creating a new and sustainable funding stream to enhance the u.s. stem education pipeline, we will help america's innovative industries recruit and retain high-skilled talent to more effectively compete in today's global marketplace and it will make us more kettlive. we have heard from many industry stake hoirlds that support the i-squared act of 2013. we have received letters from the following, supporters of this bill. microsoft, oracle, intel, i.b. i.b.m., hewlett-packard company, facebook, texas instruments, qualcomm, b.s.e., the software alliance, compete america, the semiconductor industries association, tech net, the technology association of
america, the consumer electronics association, the software and information industry association, the internet association, the computer and communications industry association, the information technology industry council, the information tech nothing abc news innovatindication foundation, tech serve alliance, the association for competitive technology, the telecommunicatiotelecommunicatiy association, cti averages the wireless association, the saber holdings, the council of chief state school officers, and just to mention one other immigration voice. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that these letters from each of these companies and organizations be inserted into the "congressional record" at this point. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. hatch: working with senators klobuchar, rubio and coons, i have to say it's a real privilege for me. these are really three very fine
additions to the united states senate. and in the case of senator klobuchar and senator coons, they're two respected members on the senate judiciary committee and senator rubio, who in my view is one of the most knowledgeable senators we have on immigration policy and as you can see, a terrific leader in so many other way, we send a strong message that both sides of the aisle can come together to craft bipartisan legislation to address one of our country's most urgent economic needs. yesterday eight of our colleagues unveiled a framework to overhaul our nation's immigration system. i'm proud of them. i commend them for their willingness to work in a bipartisan way to reform our immigration laws. it's very much needed and one of the leaders is our own senator rubio, as well as senator schumer and senator mccain, and others as well, but i hate to not mention -- but i think you get the point. similarly, the work that
senators klobuchar, rubio, coons, and i have done in crafting the i-squared act of 2013 was no easy task and represents hours of negotiations with interested stakeholders and has garnered, as you can see, widespread industry support. the i-squared act makes sense. i hope that our language to reform the high-skilled immigration system is considered by this body in the immediate future. i would surely like to her heara little by the l. bit more from senator klobuchar if she would care to make some additional points on it. ms. klobuchar: thank you. mr. president? the presiding officer: the? er from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: thank you for those kind words, senator a i also wanted to follow up on senator rubio's analogy on the teams and the sports because i did note he mentioned basketball and baseball, but not hockey.
and as you know, minnesota is a state of hockey. in fact, we just are very happy that the nhl is back playing again and our team "the wild" is playing again. i looked at some of the numbers similar to what senator rubio was talking b a significant number of our players on our professional hockey team come from other countries. as you know, there are a lot a canadian hockey players and there are players from all over the world in all of those sports. why is that? with talk about the backlogs and visa shortages. you wonder how all of these great athletes are contributorilying? the answer is there is no cap on visas for athletes. again, there is no limit on how many athletes can come over and play on our sports teams. as a result, athletes from across the globe can compete here and we have the best sports leagues in the world. why shouldn't we apply the same principles to engineering, to innovation, to science, to
medical development? that's what we should be doing. in this bill, we do have some caps, but we are raising those caps because we think it is time to compete with the rest of the world. immigrants have always played a crucial role in these disciplines in the u.s. in fact -- and this was an interesting statistic we got. the u.s. nobel prize winners, u.s. nobel prize winners, 30% of them, senator hatch, have been immigrants. 30% of them. one of those was mario kapechi. he was born in italy in 1937. his mother survived a nazi concentration camp and was eventually able to bring him to the u.s. in 2007. he won the nobel prize in medicine for his work on altering genes in mice with the use of stem cells. obviously, this is an exciting area of work that gives us great hope to solve many diseases. medtronic, a minnesota institution that has pioneered medical devices for years,
started in a garage, started by the child of an immigrant. so why would we want to prevent the next person who would come in who could cure cancer, who would create a new energy source, who would bring in new means of communication to our country? this bill is about moving our country forward. this bill is about competing in the world economy. and if we can do it in baseball and basketball, and i would add, senator rubio, hockey, we can do it in engineering, science, technology and math. and so i thank my colleagues and turn it over to senator rubio. mr. rubio: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you. and just let the record reflect that i did not mean to offend hockey fans. on the contrary, we have -- we have two hockey teams -- we have the florida panthers and the lightning in the tampa bay area who actually have won the stanley cup before, and the panthers in the play-offs last year. so we like hockey, too, although
you can't play it outdoors in florida. but in any event, i think the point is well taken that we do want the best and brightest. the one point i want to make is the one thing i have picked up on on the immigration issue in general in the last 24-48 hours is how important it is that accurate information reach the american people about what it is we're working on and what it is we are not working on. immigration is a complicated thing. you know, i hear a lot of discussion about immigration, i will have more to say about it later today, but immigration is a complicated process. the one we have now is complicated. it's important for people to understand why it is we're trying to do and what it is not. i think that's true for the entire issue of immigration, but particularly important for this one. and to that end, i guess i want to issue a public challenge to the companies who in the past have gotten engaged in the public discourse and in the public debate on issues that involve these -- the issues of technology. just a few months ago -- it's a sore spot in some places, i imagine, but we had this issue, you call sopa and pipa and other
things that were going to impact the freedom of the internet and the freedom of communicating online. a lot of groups got involved to speak about that and to try to clear the record about what they were for and what they were against. i hope they will do the same thing on this. i hope they will use the platforms on this to open play -- openly discuss what this is about. i guess this is a challenge to the facebooks, googles and twitters of the world that you have to get involved here. just think about this for a moment. if a decade ago you were going to tell someone that you were going to google them, they would be offended because that didn't mean anything a decade ago. now it means something. if you were to say a decade ago you were going to tweet something, people would look at you funny. now it actually means something. these are innovations that have happened in america that not only have changed the way we live and made our lives more interesting and in some ways are more productive, but are really transforming the world. you think about the political movements here and around the world, there was a time when you couldn't even engage in public
discourse in america if you didn't have an organization to back you. now any single individual can become the leader of a movement fairly quickly by using the platform of -- that have been created by innovators. a disproportionate number of the people that developed this stuff are immigrants or the children of immigrants or children of people that we have trained in this country, that thank god we didn't send back home. we have a chance to do that, and i hope that those who have a vested issue in this passing will use the platforms they own and operate to clearly inform the american people about what's at stake here on the issue of immigration as a whole but in particular on this issue of high-skilled immigration. and i guess for some additional thoughts, i want to turn it over to senator coons who has a unique insight into innovation. we worked on the start of 2.0. i will plug it again because it's an important piece of legislation that we would like to get done fairly soon. a lot of them based on investor visas and things of that nature. i think senator coons has more to add today.
mr. coons: thank you, senator rubio. mr. nelson: would the senator yield just for a moment for a compliment? mr. coons: certainly, i yield to the senator from florida. mr. nelson: i just want to compliment my colleague from florida. as i gave a number of interviews yesterday on his initiatives with regard to comprehensive immigration, not to speak of the issue at hand, more about the specialized necessity of visas, but in overall comprehensive immigration which i certainly favor and have voted for in the past, and a huge step was taken because of the initiative of a number of courageous senators among whom i would include my colleague from florida. thank you. mr. coons: thank you, senator nelson. if i might, mr. president?
the presiding officer: the senator from delaware. mr. coons: i join the senator from florida in thanking and recognizing the junior senator from florida, senator rubio, for his great work on the issues of job creation and innovation through start-up 2.0 and other bills we have worked on together but also through the comprehensive framework that was released yesterday. the framework released by senator schumer and mccain, senators rubio and others takes the right approach to ensuring that the united states has a modern, efficient, effective and compassionate immigration system. i was glad to see it addresses family-based immigration challenges, including creating an expedited path to citizenship for young people brought here as children through no fault of their own, people we rightly call dreamers. while the innovation and innovation act we are introducing today recognizes the vital and critical contributions that immigrants have made and will continue to make in highly technical fields, we also must recognize the essential contributions that immigrants
make along the entire labor spectrum across the whole breadth of this country, to building this country up in the past and to giving it a brighter future. as you heard from senator klobuchar before, if team u.s.a. is to play competitively globally, we need the best and brightest contributors to our future. why would we educate the best inventors and innovators in the world and send many of them back to compete with us from other countries rather than embracing them here and allowing them to invent, to invest and create companies and jobs here in the united states? while i am eager to move ahead on family-focused reform, i am equally eager to have us move ahead with reform for stem degree holders. comprehensive immigration reform is a necessity for the hard-working people of delaware and around the country. for those who want nothing more than to play by the rules, build a better life for their children and contribute to the american dream. that is, mr. president, what any of us would want, the chance to work hard, to see our children
grow up happy and healthy with the education and opportunities that make their dreams come true and to contribute to a stronger america. that's why i am committed to a comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system, one that supports children and families, as well as our economy and our vital technology sector and that havings immigrants into the rich fabric of this country, as the united states has done since our founding. as someone who trained in chemistry, as someone who worked for a high-technology materials-based science company, as someone who met just yesterday with a delaware company complaining of the challenges that visa caps and limits place on their ability to do research and development and to compete in the global economy, i just want to say i am grateful for the leadership senator hatch and senator klobuchar and senator rubio have shown in crafting this piece, this vital piece of the total picture of comprehensive immigration reform. thank you, and senator hatch, do you have some closing comments as we conclude this colloquy? the presiding officer: the
senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i want to particularly thank my colleagues, senators coons, rubio and klobuchar for their work on this bill. it's obvious from their statements here today that they have a great deal of commitment to these important issues. i-squared is a commonsense approach to ensuring that those who have come here to be educated in our american universities have the ability to stay here with their families and contribute to our economy and to our society. this bill is good for workers, it's good for businesses trying to grow, and it's good for our economy. i am pleased with the momentum we already have seen on this bill through industry support and within the senate itself. i'm pleased to announce that senators flake, shaheen, heller, blumenthal, hoeven, senator nelson from florida and warner have agreed to be original cosponsors of the i-squared act,
and i encourage many more of my colleagues to support and help pass this bill. it's long overdue, it's well thought out. we have run it by the top people in this country. and frankly, it has a lot of support so far, and we haven't even gone out and tried to get cosponsors, and they're starting to come just naturally. and i hope that -- i hope that we can get the senate to call this bill up. and of course, i think we're all interested in going beyond this bill, too, and doing true immigration reform that will help our country to continue to maintain itself as the greatest country in the world. i want to thank my colleagues. this has been a real privilege to serve with them here on the floor today. i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you, mr. president. the judiciary committee will be holding hearings soon, and many
times on responding to the mass killings such as the recent school shooting in newtown, connecticut, admittedly that was a terrible tragedy. we're all sympathetic to the families of the victims of that horrendous crime. president obama has asked congress to pass legislation in response to that event. i look forward to the hearings that the judiciary committee will hold on this very important subject because we need to know more about the problem and potential legislative action. there will be plenty of occasions to discuss specific gun, mental health and other legislative responses to newtown. today, i would like to address the president's rhetoric when he announced his proposal. i was surprised at a number of the president's statements. for instance, he is directing
the center for disease control to conduct research into the causes of gun violence, but gun violence is not a disease, and lawful gun ownership is not a disease. it is a constitutionally protected individual right, the famous second amendment right, not only part of the constitution for 225 years but reinforceed by two recent supreme court decisions. the president said that we suffer from an -- quote -- "epidemic of violence." end of quote. although there is too much violence in america. violent crime rates are at the lowest level in 50 years, not at epidemic levels, at least epidemic when compared to the --
prior to the last 50 years. and there's reason for that. police practices and investigative techniques have improved, and we in the congress have helped with grants to assist local law enforcement, higher incarceration rates for violent criminals and an end to pa role in the federal system. notably, crime rates are at their lowest level in 50 years at the very same time that more guns are in circulation than ever before. but what has not declined is mass killings like we had in newtown, connecticut, and of course this should be our focus. but what the president has said that most surprised me concerned the constitution and